SILVER DICK (1896)
PHOTOS | SOCIAL MEDIA | REFERENCES
Bi-Colours have climbed a very steep hill since the early days of the cat fancy, when they were in most cases considered to be the poor cousins of the solid blues, the flashy whites, the slick blacks and the ethereal silvers. But nevertheless, there were some good ones, and cats like 'Silver Dick' reminded breeders and exhibitors, that Bi-Colours were of equal beauty when adorned with great coat and sensational eye colour.
'Silver Dick' was one of the most successful Bi-Colours from this early period to be benched, but he was not alone. His grandsire 'Taffy', owned by Miss Nella Wheatley, and described in his day as a 'buff with white' was one of the first Cream Bi-Colours to pave the way for others to follow. Most of the activity surrounding these early American Bi-Colours , centred around Chicago, which had by this time become the 'hub' of the cat breeding fraternity in the United States. And it was from Chicago that cats like 'Lockehaven Prince Colburn' sprang, and to Chicago that new imports like 'Spangle Spangle' came, to supplement and compliment the breeding programs already underway for Bi-Colours and Parti-Colours.
Bi-colours in general encountered a very harsh road in the motherland of the Cat Fancy, as in Britain they were automatically relegated to the 'Any Other Variety' class when entered into Shows; the club committees very unwilling to provide a separation of classes for them to compete in. In the United States, the clubs were keen to offer as many separate classes as could be managed, as the emphasis there was more on 'variety' as the spice of life! Hence it was in the United States that Bi-Colours faired the best during these early years of the Fancy.
It is fair to say, that at this time, very little was understood about the white spotting factor responsible for the patterning on bi-colours and parti-colours; although we may be assured that anyone with an ounce of knowledge about white spotting in the breeding of rabbits or guinea pigs, may have been at a distinct advantage if they had had an opportunity to work with white spotting in cats. It is also very noticeable just how many dominant white cats from the period were themselves masking the hidden propensity for producing Bi-Colours, and this would have no doubt have added a degree of confusion.
None the less, the bi-colours had arrived and were destined to stay.
'Silver Dick' was born 7th June, 1896, bred by his owner, Mrs. Porter L. Evans, of East St. Louis, Illinois. Mrs. Evans cattery name was 'Brighton' so in the register of the Beresford Cat Club, he goes by the name of 'Brighton Silver Dick' (BCC 114).
Taffy Taffy II | Caprice, White Silver Dick, Jun-7-1896, Cream/White, M | Pasht Trilby Estelle
His sire was 'Taffy II' who was himself by Miss Nella Wheatley's well known Cream Bi-Colour, 'Taffy' and out of 'Caprice', an amber -eyed white. 'Caprice' (BCC 207) was owned by Mrs. Warren Eames Colburn, (Brushwood Cattery) and was later to claim fame as the dam of 'Brushwood Paris', (BCC 188). 'Paris', was born a year later, in July 1897. So although there are no registration records for the sire of 'Silver Dick', it would appear very likely that 'Taffy II' would have been bred by Mrs. Colburn and may have also been known as 'Brushwood Taffy II' before going to any potential new home.
The dam of 'Silver Dick' was 'Trilby' for whom we have no records other than through indirect registration details of a Cream male named 'Ben Hur' (USR 340), where we find 'Silver Dick' listed as one of the grandsires, and his dam 'Trilby' as by 'Pasht' and out of 'Estelle'.
There do not appear to be any recorded siblings or sire or dam siblings of 'Silver Dick'. But we do have records of some of his early wins. These include a first at St. Louis, in 1897; at Chicago in 1898; and a first and two Specials at the Beresford Cat Club Show of 1900. From this small but significant amount of information we can deduce a number of things. Firstly, that there was a Show at St. Louis, before the first one at Chicago in December of 1898!2
Apart from the record of his win at Chicago, we have corroborating evidence of his attendance there from an article in 'The Bazar' dated 14th December, 1898, written by Jennie Van Allen. In this article, she enumerates on many of the special entrants in attendance at the Chicago Cat Club show and he is duly described as "Silver Dick Evans, a prize winner from St. Louis". An image of him, the only one found to date, is captioned: 'Silver Dick, the delegate from St.Louis'.1
Mrs. Evans does appear to have had 'Silver Dick' available at stud, as is shown by his short list of recorded progeny. His registered offspring include:
MADISON LIZETTE: (BCC 316), a Tortie and White female, born in 1899, sired by 'Silver Dick' and out of 'Margaret'. 'Lizette' was bred by Mrs. I. Giles Lewis, of the Hotel del Prado, in Chicago. She was then sold to Miss Lucy C. Johnstone of Chicago, hence her registered name of 'Madison Lizette'. Mrs. Johnstone, would later breed 'Lizette' to her famous English imported cream male 'Kew Laddie' to produce another Tortie and White named 'Madison Nanette' (BCC 842).
TAMA: (BCC 809), an Orange (Red) female, born in April 1900, sired by 'Silver Dick' out of 'Ermalyne'. This home-bred female, bred by Mrs. Evans, whose registration is notated 'dark orange eyes', was initially sold to Mrs. B.J. Bodalsky of Los Angeles, but later passed to Belmont Perry, of Pasadena, California. As 'Valrosa Tama' she was shown in Los Angeles in 1901, where she won a First and a Special as the Best Female.
HAWTHORNE TAMMA: (BCC 548), a Tortie and White female, born 8th March, 1901, sired by 'Silver Dick' and out of 'Tortina' (BCC 546) (aka Hillside Tortina). 'Tamma', was bred by Mrs. Farnham of Carrollton, Missouri; and sold to Mrs. Helen A. Viles, of Norborne, Missouri. Her dam, 'Tortina' was bred by Mrs. Porter L. Evans, the owner of 'Silver Dick' and had been sold to Mrs. Farnham.
One son of 'Silver Dick' was found through indirect registration information. His name is PRINCE TEDDY and he is shown as the sire of the Cream male 'Ben Hur' (USR 340). 'Prince Teddy' was by 'Silver Dick' ex 'Brown Bird'.
If the image of 'Silver Dick' is anything to go by, he does appear to have been a handsome male for the period, of good Persian conformation, and with sound eye colour. One can imagine that in full coat and beautifully presented, he most certainly would have caught the attention of the judges. He remains one of the earliest successful bi-colour males benched in America, a flagship of promise of things to come. From his birth in 1896, to when Bi-Colours were finally accepted into Championship in CFA, was a gap of 74 years. One cannot help but wonder about the pleasure and joy of derived by spectators admiring this forerunner 'Silver Dick' in 1897, and then to compare that to the modern era, when spectators would have stood in the ring to admire Gayle and Bill Lee's Cream Bi-Colour male 'GC NW Lee's Let The Sunshine In' on his way to becoming CFA Cat of The Year in 1981.
None currently available.
RRegisters associated with this article include The Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain (TICFAGB), National Cat Club (NCC), The Cat Club (CCR), Beresford Cat Club (BCC), Feline Federation Francaise (FFF), Siamese Cat Registry (SCR), US Register & Studbook for Cats (USR)including Supplement(USRS), The Studbook of the American Cat Association (ACA), and the Studbook & Register of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
Home | Cats | Gallery | Clubs | People | Artifacts | Articles | Updates | Contact Us
©The CFA Foundation, Inc and The Harrison Weir Collection